September 20, 2004
Premier Williams outlines preparations to explore development opportunities for the Lower Churchill
As government prepares to move forward with exploring development opportunities for the Lower Churchill, Premier Danny Williams today announced the appointment of Dean MacDonald as Chair of the Board of Directors of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
"We made a commitment in our Blueprint to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown corporation and to strengthen its participation in the economic development of this province," said Premier Williams. "Although it will remain a Crown corporation, over the next year, we will be restructuring Hydro with a new mandate to support the development of the province�s energy sector. Some of the key priorities of a new and improved Hydro will include the development of the Lower Churchill, exploration of partnerships with the private sector concerning natural gas, wind energy, geothermal heat pump technology, and the possible acquisition of ownership interests in our offshore oil and gas resources. I am extremely pleased Mr. MacDonald has agreed to serve in this vital leadership role, as we move forward to develop the economy of the province."
Premier Williams stated his government�s priority for the immediate future is to advance the development of the Lower Churchill and he has full confidence in Mr. MacDonald�s ability to assist government in reaching its objectives on this major development.
Mr. MacDonald served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro from 1996 to 2002 when he resigned his position in opposition to the development proposal advanced by the former government. Mr. MacDonald is uniquely qualified to advise government on how to reach a better Lower Churchill agreement than the 2002 proposal. His previous experience on the board of Hydro, as well as in executive positions with other major corporations, means that Mr. MacDonald will also provide a high standard of leadership and oversight on behalf of government over the affairs of Hydro.
"We are in a much stronger position to negotiate an agreement on the development of the Lower Churchill than at any time in our history," said Premier Williams. "The Lower Churchill is a significant source of renewable, low-cost, clean electricity and the marketplace is ripe for such a development. As outlined in our Blueprint, our commitment is to ensure this resource is developed in a way that brings real and long-term benefits for the people of this province and makes a strong contribution to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Premier Williams further announced the appointment of Kenneth Marshall and Craig Tucker to the Board of Directors at Hydro. The premier thanked outgoing board members, Paul Dicks and Danny Dumaresque, for their service on the board.
Premier Williams also stated government will initiate a search for a new president and chief executive officer for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a result of the retirement of Bill Wells.
"Following the election last year, Mr. Wells agreed to stay on for a year beyond his contract to provide for the continuance of leadership at Hydro during this government�s transition period," said Premier Williams. "On behalf of the people of this province, I thank Mr. Wells for his commitment and dedication to Hydro during his eight years of service and I wish him well in his retirement."
Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960 or (709) 690-5500
boards and committees, including chair and board member for Special Olympics, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Craig R. Tucker
2004 09 20 1:00 p.m.